Tattered pages and empty shelves

BARRY’S BAY – The shelves are being cleared at the Madawaska Valley District High School library, and Librarian Kathleen Turner is trying to be optimistic.

The school’s library has recently undergone renovations, with the help of the grant it received in October.

With more comfortable seating for the students, the librarian had to work her magic in order to make some wiggle room.
Turner admits she is disappointed that she is required to discard some of the long friendships she has had with many of these books, but is also optimistic that once things change, the students will be more apt to read.
“There is sadness, it’s like saying goodbye to friends,” she admitted. “But what keeps me going is the knowledge that the new library with fewer books but attractive books and a more welcoming atmosphere, is going to attract more readers. That is what keeps me going.”
Books were eliminated by their published date, the cover, and the amount they had been signed out by curious readers.
If a book was published prior to the year 2000, it was likely to be removed from the shelf. However, if it was a topic surrounding the history of science, geography or any important episode in the past, it had a fighting chance.
Teachers from each department rummaged through the pile of cast-offs and decide whether or not there is anything in there worth keeping.
Books that were discarded included those with tattered pages, torn covers and dense text.
“Because it looks old and tattered, it makes it unattractive,” Turner said, adding that they will often buy the most recent copy of a book in order to make it more striking to students.
Turner has been pulling books from the shelves for days, and admits that it is a lot of work, and without the help of her co-op student, she may not have been able to do it.
Melanie Plebon is a Grade 11 student at the high school, and is spending several hours working in the library in order to earn her credit.
“I wanted something different,” Plebon admitted, adding that she loves her position at the library.
Plebon had never really taken a hard look at the books that scattered the shelves, but once she was asked to erase them from the system, she began to find some gems.Story continues in the December 12, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.